September 12, 2012

The Romney Campaign's Smallness

The Romney campaign has certainly not distinguished itself over the past 24-48 hours with respect to commenting on Middle East policy issues. Consider the following two episodes:

1) As reported in the New York Times, after the latest fracas between Obama and Netanyahu, a Romney advisor states:

Mr. Romney had no immediate comment about Mr. Netanyahu’s challenge to Mr. Obama, and one of his informal advisers on the Middle East said, “It’s probably better at this point to let Netanyahu make the point because it’s more powerful that way.” The adviser said he was not authorized to speak on the record. [my emphasis]

So let’s get this straight. First, no one is willing to comment on the record. Second, they double down on this cowardly posture by stating it is better to let a foreign leader beat up on the United States’ current sitting President than the campaign itself. That it's more "powerful that way"? Quite classy. A few decades back, this would have been unthinkable. Forget about politics stopping at the water’s edge, this is an opposition party essentially openly siding with a foreign leader's world view on one of the leading geopolitical issues of the day.

2) Next, there is the tragedy of the events in Benghazi (and Cairo), which given the death of Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues, I will refrain from commenting on the deep ironies thereto with respect to our recent misadventure in Libya. Of course no such dignity from the Romney campaign, who lept on some Tweets from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to contend that the Obama Administration’s first reaction was one of, you guessed it, weak-kneed appeasement and sympathy with the enemy (and on the anniversary of 9/11 to boot!).

Apparently some of the offending tweets were as follows:


We condemn the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims— US Embassy Cairo (@USEmbassyCairo) September 11, 2012


This morning's condemnation (issued before protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy.

How horrific, and really, isn’t this execrable filmmaker (one Sam Bacile) also worthy of a condemnation or two amidst all the fall-out from his disgustingly moronic, self-indulgent “documentary”?

The US Embassy in Cairo went on to Tweet:

Of course we condemn breaches of our compound, we're the ones actually living through this.

As well:

Sorry, but neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry.

Nice reminders that those Tweeting from Cairo are actually on the ground dealing with the aftermath, and that denigrating, bigoted trash helped set off this conflagration, although, of course, there is zero excuse for resorting to such violence and attacking U.S. government interests as a result.

Meantime, here’s what the President himself said, rather than whomever is running the Tweeting out of Cairo (not incapably, in my view):

I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.

I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.

On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.

The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward."

I’ll let the statement speak for itself.

Amidst all this, Romney, who couldn’t even embargo his statement until 9/11 had passed (and might have summoned a tad more elegance if he’d over-nighted it & realized the first sitting U.S. Ambassador since 1979 had died), reels out this statement : “It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

No, what’s disgraceful are these two episodes highlighted above. But it’s OK, it makes Romney and his team look desperately small. More please.

Posted by Gregory at September 12, 2012 12:53 PM

Digby: "I smell John Bolton.... vintage Bolton. He's a psychopath. And he's advising Romney. On the other hand, I'm sure there are other psychopaths advising him too, so who knows?"

John Bolton's mustache is bigger than Tommy Friedman's.

Posted by: Adams at September 12, 2012 01:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I fear for us (and the rest of the world) if Mitt Romney is ever allowed to have his finger on the button....

Posted by: JFS at September 12, 2012 02:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I was expecting the usual suspects to tie themselves in knots to pin this attack on Iran.

Moments after the London bombings, Very Serious People were on television proclaiming "this has all the hallmarks of Iran"...or a couple Anglo-Pakistani kids!?!

I am almost relieved it is only "Romneys smallness" we are dealing with, not outright lies to try to goad the US into even bigger wars.

Posted by: gmajn at September 12, 2012 02:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Is it just Romney smallness? Something smells about this movie? Nobody knows the guy, he's disappeared? Maybe Sheldon Adelson and Israel's Netanyahu trying to stir something up to force America's hand or maybe just help Romney win?

Smells like dirty tricks to me.

Posted by: Georgia at September 12, 2012 06:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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Gregory Djerejian comments intermittently on global politics, finance & diplomacy at this site. The views expressed herein are solely his own and do not represent those of any organization.

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